Areas of Focus

There are five broad areas of focus within Circuits:

A. Signal Processing, Communications, and Control
The subjects relevant to signal processing, communications and control include several which are basic to other areas as well as to Area III. Statistics, random signals, and noise are discussed in 6.432, and basic principles of linear system theory are developed in 6.241 and 6.242. Digital signal processing is presented in 6.341 together with some basic linear system theory. 6.343, 6.344 and 6.345 are more advanced subjects in signal processing. Graduate electives develop a variety of other concepts and technologies basic to the analysis and design of communications, control, and signal processing systems. Other more mathematical subjects are not listed here because they normally fall within the province of Area I.

B. Energy and Power Systems
Energy and power systems involve subjects that explore signal processing devices and techniques involving electromagnetic or mechanical waves, and therefore are often accompanied by an appropriate background course in electromagnetics. 6.334, and 6.685 cover topics in this subject area. Those interested in micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) may elect 6.777.

C. Circuits and Systems
Circuits and systems center on device-level circuit and system design, which are discussed in several undergraduate and graduate subjects. Graduate students may want to take undergraduate laboratory subjects 6.101, 6.111, or 6.115 The electives 6.301 and 6.302 have long provided valuable background for analog electronic circuits. In addition, they may consider graduate subjects such as 6.331, 6.334, 6.374, 6.376, 6.775, and 6.776.

D. Digital Design and Computer Architecture
Digital design and computer architecture courses include some useful subjects offered as undergraduate electives. 6.823 is a basic course in computer architecture but requires some computer science background. 6.374 is the advanced subject in VLSI and Integrated Circuit design. The thesis and other individual programs are also very important in developing expertise in this area; these opportunities are discussed later in this guide. Some students may find it beneficial to consider other subjects in this sequence, such as 6.004 (computer architecture) if this material is unfamiliar.

E. Computer-Aided Design and Numerical Methods
Computer-aided design and numerical method are covered in graduate-level courses such as 6.336J which introduces computational simulation and optimization, 6.337J for iterative and direct linear solution, FFT, and wavelets, and 6.338J for parallel computing.